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Two Iowa Youth Honored for Volunteerism at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympic Snowboarding Champion Seth Wescott Pay Tribute to Norway and Prole Students as Part of Four-Day Recognition Events

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Two Iowa students, Malea Schulte, 18, of Norway and Brandon Pettit, 11, of Prole, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer work during the presentation of The 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The two young people – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympic snowboarding champion Seth Wescott at the 15th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception, held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Malea and Brandon were named the top high school and middle level youth volunteers in Iowa last February. In addition to their cash awards, they received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events.

“The Prudential Spirit of Community honorees give us great hope for the future,” said Dr. Rice. “Their compassion and commitment are already making a real difference in so many lives, and I have no doubt that their leadership will continue to positively impact the world for many years to come.”

Malea, a senior at Benton Community High School in Van Horne, painted a large mural to decorate a new baseball museum in her community, designed a logo for the museum, helped landscape the area around it, and worked on beautifying the interior. After viewing “The Final Season,” a movie about Norway’s winning baseball teams, Malea began to fully appreciate her town’s rich tradition of championship baseball, and quickly signed on to assist a budding effort to build a museum. “In Norway, Iowa, baseball is like our all-encompassing religion,” she said.

After a former bank building was donated to house the museum, Malea began painting a 6-by-12-foot mural for the exterior, depicting a Norway baseball player jumping for a fly ball. When it was finished, Malea worked on the landscaping around the building, helping to remove cement slabs, install a drainage system, and lay down river rock. Her design work was used in the museum’s front window and on thank-you cards that are sold in the museum gift shop. In addition, framed photos of her mural will be sold in the gift shop to finance the purchase of baseball gloves for disadvantaged children in the area. “I think every young person deserves this opportunity, especially children growing up in the baseball capital of Iowa,” Malea said. “The baseball museum has changed the attitude of the entire town. It rekindled the pride that was always there, just hidden.”

Brandon, a sixth-grader at Indianola Middle School in Indianola, developed and implemented a plan to collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans at the 2009 Warren County Iowa Fair so that they could be recycled. Brandon earlier had started a recycling plan for his family, and reduced his home’s trash output by 75 percent. When he noticed trash cans full of plastic bottles and pop cans at public events, he decided he needed to do something about this. “A simple solution is to provide recycling bins for people to put their empty beverage bottles and cans in at public events,” he said.

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Brandon presented his idea to the Warren County Iowa Fair Board and obtained its approval to collect recyclables during the 2009 fair last July. With his father’s help, Brandon purchased 10 recycling containers to place around the fairgrounds, and then recruited fellow 4-H members to monitor and empty the bins every day. Afterwards, he and his family sorted, bagged, and delivered the used cans and bottles to redemption and recycling centers. “I am happy that I am no longer personally contributing to our national waste problem but am a part of the solution,” Brandon said. “Kids should step forward and encourage adults to make the changes necessary to protect our environment and future generations.”

“Malea and Brandon are wonderful examples of young Americans who care about the world around them and have taken the initiative to improve that world,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We salute their effort, their achievements, and their spirit of community.”

More than 21,000 young people submitted applications for the 2010 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the Points of Light Institute’s HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February and flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created 15 years ago by Prudential Financial to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored nearly 100,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.

“The young women and men in America’s schools are nothing short of amazing, and nowhere is this more evident than amongst this year’s award recipients,” said NASSP President Steven Pophal. “They possess a keen intellect, servant hearts, capable leadership skills, and are filled with energy and ambition. NASSP and Prudential are honored to recognize them.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are supported by the American Association of School Administrators, the National Middle School Association, the National School Boards Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, Girl Scouts of the USA, National 4-H Council, the American Red Cross, YMCA of the USA, the Points of Light Institute, and other national education and service organizations.

More information about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and this year’s honorees can be found at http://spirit.prudential.com or www.principals.org/spirit.

In existence since 1916, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the preeminent organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. NASSP’s mission is to promote excellence in school leadership. The National Honor Society®, National Junior Honor Society®, National Elementary Honor Society™, and National Association of Student Councils® are all NASSP programs. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, Va., visit www.principals.org or call 703-860-0200.

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Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) is a financial services leader with operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. In the United States, the company’s Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, visit www.news.prudential.com.

[Editors: full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions are available at spirit.prudential.com.]

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6273401&lang=en

Prudential
Harold Banks, 973-802-8974 or 973-216-4833
or
NASSP
Robert Farrace, 703-860-7257
On May 3, 8:30 am - 4 pm EDT: 202-955-1155 or 1166

Source: Prudential Financial



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